MRR's Movie of the Week: "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" Review

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Matthew Broderick stars as Ferris Bueller, a smart aleck who is determined to have a day off from school, despite his suspecting principal.
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MRR's Movie of the Week: "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" Review

Rating: PG-13
Length: 103 minutes
Release date: June 11, 1986
Directed by: John Hughes
Genre: Comedy / Drama

Every teenager dreams of the perfect opportunity to skip school. Most, however, lack the skill and the nerve to successfully see those dreams come true. For all those teens, and the adults they have become, Ferris Bueller offers a way to skip school with ease without wasting a single second languishing on the couch in front of the television. "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" is a classic John Hughes film that captures the adolescent dream fulfilled in a light, innocent, and comedic way.

Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick) is no ordinary truant student. He is a veteran at skipping school, as seen in his creative sick fake-out and faux-parent calls to the school. Bueller's goal is to spend a fun-filled day cheering up his best friend Cameron (Alan Ruck) and having fun with his girlfriend Sloane (Mia Sara). He springs a legitimately ill Cameron from his sickroom and Sloane from school so the three can embark upon an epic day in the city of Chicago.

Throughout fine dining, museum visits, and even a parade through the city streets, Bueller keeps the audience informed by breaking the fourth wall and talking directly to viewers. He gives the audience a primer on the best skip day while explaining the reasoning behind many of his laughable acts. The movie's viewers aren't the only people learning from Bueller on this epic day. The shy, self-conscious Cameron is taking notes nervously as Bueller shows him the ropes in truancy with gusto. Bueller even convinces Cameron to take his father's restored vintage Ferrari for a spin on their day off.

The trio isn't left without problems throughout the day. Bueller's sister, played by Jennifer Grey, is determined to finally give her charming, sweet-talking brother the comeuppance he deserves for his truancy and for other offenses he has slipped past their parents over the years. Another foil is the school principal (Jeffrey Jones), who knows that Bueller and his buddies are up to something, but is unable to determine what. These two foes make the day that Bueller has designed a tad more difficult, while piling on the laughs and adding a bit of suspense.

Hughes does show the consequences of skipping for a moment when the absurd but grand plan to roll back the Ferrari's mileage ends up a disaster. Ruck plays the perfect teen in immense danger of his father's wrath, giving Bueller the blame he deserves but then rolling with the consequences, because his experiences on that day off were worth much more than a moment of trouble or a few months of being grounded.

Broderick, Sara, and Ruck play three very typical teen roles with which everyone can identify. You have the sweet but conniving mastermind, the innocent girl next door, and the shy nerd-like guy who is almost afraid of his own shadow. Together, these teens learn about themselves and the city they live in, making "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" a classic Hughes coming-of-age film. Although many in the audience will identify with the characters, they will also reminisce about their own scheming during boring high school days. Bueller gives those kids at heart a taste of what might have been if their plans were put in action.

In addition to the perfect characterization of the trio of friends, other aspects of a suburban teen's life are depicted in the movie from the eyes of a kid wishing to buck authority. Hughes portrays school as painfully boring to the extent that viewers are left rooting for Sara's and Ruck's characters to finally break free. Grey's sister act is almost stereotypical, while Jones plays every teen's nightmare of a busybody principal. The parents are clueless, as are other adults in the film. With these characterizations, Hughes succeeds in convincing the audience that Bueller deserves the day off and all the extravagance it brings.

"Ferris Bueller's Day Off" is classic film that is innocent enough for teens but entertaining enough for adults. A funny and sometimes dramatic tale, it will have everyone rooting for the band of truants to come through the day unscathed, and the audience will leave with an appreciation of the special time the adolescent years can be. Hughes does not glorify truancy, instead ensuring Bueller and his friends face consequences. However, "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" inspires everyone to take a little time off to experience something different for a change.

Rated 4 out of 5